All posts by Debbie Groom

Fulton police, firefighters honored

Fulton firefighters and police officers were honored Wednesday night during the annual city of Fulton Police and Fire Awards Ceremony.

Medal of Honor recipients Officer Michael Blasczienski and Officer Brian Dumas. Photo by Thomas Abelgore
Medal of Honor recipients Officer Michael Blasczienski and Officer Brian Dumas.
Photo by Thomas Abelgore

The ceremony, emceed by Channel 9 anchor and reporter Christie Casciano, was filled with the exceptional stories of what the police officers, firefighters, Menter EMTS and civilians did durig 2013 to help their fellow Fulton residents.

Beverly Belton wiped tears from her eyes as her saviors — Officers Brian Dumas and Michael Blasczienski — received the Medal of Honor Award for saving her and others in her apartment building during a fire.

“Blasczienski kicked my door down to get to me. I didn’t even know the building was on fire,” she said. “If they hadn’t gotten me out, I’d be gone — the fire was int he attic right above me.”

She kissed and hugged the two men after they received their award. From her ordeal, Belton is lobbying the state and federal governments to institute a First Responders Day to honor these workers.

Another poignant moment was when 10-year-old Kiernan O’Neil received his Civiilian Service Award. He stood on the stage with her mom, Jennifer, who he saved.

Civiilian Service Award recipient Kiernan O’Neil and his mom, Jennifer
Civiilian Service Award recipient Kiernan O’Neil and his mom, Jennifer

Kiernan, who was 9 at the time, was playing outside last June 24 when he needed to tell his mother something. He went into the house and found her lying on the bed.

According to accounts, he knew something was wrong because his mom wasn’t moving and it didn’t seem as though she was breathing.

“While a lot of kids out there would probably panic, Kiernan didn’t. Instead he ran out of the house to the neighbors to call 911,” said the narrative read during the ceremony.

Police Officer Gary Percival, Fulton Rescue and Menter Ambulance all heard the call and responded.  Jennifer was found to have no pulse.

According to the narrative read at the ceremony:

“Percival rolled Jennifer onto her back and began CPR. A short time later Fulton Fire Department Personnel Lt. Mark Pollock, Firefighter Randy Spencer, Firefighter Chris Adkins, Firefighter Chris Caza and Firefighter Ryan Maxam arrived. They took over life saving efforts from  Percival.

“Jumping into action, Firefighters Adkins and Maxam got Jennifer’s airway open and began giving her respirations while Lt. Pollock and Firefighter Caza continued CPR. With crucial time ticking away, they set up an AED and delivered a shock to Jennifer.

“Still not breathing they continued with CPR. Menters ambulance personnel Michael Zukovsky, Sean Morganti, Edward Kasperek and Joseph Susino arrived on the scene and immediately got to work. An IV was started and Jennifer was shocked a second time.

“They kept up their efforts and soon after she was loaded into the ambulance, Jennifer was breathing on her own and had a pulse.”

Jennifer O’Neil hugged each of the firefighters and officers who helped save her that day. And young Kiernan got a hearty  thanks and good job from the first responders and, of course, Mom.

Here is a list of others honored Wednesday night:

Police Officer of the Year Chris Jones, with his daughters Casey, left, and Hannah, right.
Police Officer of the Year Chris Jones, with his daughters Casey, left, and Hannah, right.

Firefighter of the year: Christopher Adkins

Police officer of the year: Christopher Jones

Triumphant Award, for scoring 90 percent or better in the annual Fitness Challenge: Officer Brian Dumas; those scoring  85 percent or better were Capt. David Eiffe and Deputy Chief Thomas Abelgore.

STEP (Selective Traffic Enforcement Program) awards for participation in the program that targets traffic offenses:

Leading the Fulton department was Officer Brandon Lanning, followed by Officer Jarret Marino and Officer Lucas Hollenbeck. Others receiving certificates of commendation for their work on this program are Officers Christopher Jones, Jeffrey Margrey, Victor Kaufman, Rick Hahn, Christian Dempsey, Brandon Harris and Brian Dumas.

Firefighter of the Year, Chris Adkins
Firefighter of the Year, Chris Adkins

Meritorious Service Award: Officer (retired) Lennet Whitmore and Officer Jeremy Algarin.

Here is a narrative of what they did:

Last summer, Officer Whitmore and Officer Algarin were on patrol when they were dispatched to a reported suicidal woman on the city’s west side.

When they arrived, several people were gathered around a house pointing to a second-floor window. The people said a woman had come to the window with something wrapped around her neck, threatening to jump.

Whitmore went to the upstairs apartment and tried to make contact with the female, but she refused to open the door. Due to the circumstances, Algarin kicked in the door and both officers entered the apartment.

At first, they were unable to locate the woman, then Algarin saw that she was hanging by her fingertips out the second-story window.

Both officers went into action, throwing the window open and grabbing the woman by each of her arms. After a brief struggle, they were able to get the woman back inside to safety.

Completing two consecutive years of service without an absence: Firefighters Robert Summerville, Daniel O’mara,  Chris Adkins, Lt. Steven Dexter, Lt. Mark Pollock, Officer Victor Kaufman, Inv. Aimee May, Inv. Michael Curtis, Lt. William Clark, Deputy Chief Thomas Abelgore

Honorable Service Award: Officer Lucas Hollenbeck.

Here is a narrative of what he did:

In March 2013, Officer Lucas Hollenbeck was patrolling Fulton’s west side late in the afternoon. Hollenbeck decided to do an area check of some of the local businesses and while checking NET & DIE, a local machine shop, he noticed a vehicle parked along the side of the building.

A quick check of the building found it secure, but the truck bed was loaded with what appeared to be a large amount of metal.

Believing that he may have interrupted a larceny in progress, Hollenbeck called for backup. Other police units arrived and they began checking the area, when they located Kyle Moore and Jonathan Loomis hiding behind a dumpster.

Neither man would admit to stealing the metal, even though the truck was registered to one of them. The owner of the company was contacted and he confirmed the metal in the back of the truck did indeed belong to his business.

After further investigation both males were arrested for felony grand larceny.

Meritorious Service Award: Officer Christopher Jones

Here is a narrative of what he did:

Last spring, Officer Chris Jones was on patrol when he was dispatched to a reported house fire. When Jones arrived he could see smoke pouring out of the house.

Being the first on scene, Jones jumped into action grabbing a fire extinguisher out of the back of his patrol car. He started for the house as people fled the burning building.

When he entered the house, Jones could see the smoke was coming from the basement. Without regard for his safety and no equipment to protect him from the fire, he went down looking for the source of the smoke.

When he got to the basement he found the fire and went to work quickly putting it out before more damage could be done.

As he battled the flames in the confined space he was nearly overcome by the toxic combination of smoke and dry chemicals from the extinguisher.

After exiting the building, Jones was treated for smoke inhalation and chemical burns to his lungs, but even as he was being treated he was able to learn vital information from people on scene that eventually helped lead to the arrest of Christopher Holbrook for arson.

Life Saver Award: Michael Zukovsky, Garrett Hauf and Ronald Frawley.

Here is a narrative of what they did:

Just over a year ago Menters personnel, Michael Zukovsky, Garrett Hauf and Ronald Frawley were sent to the city’s east side for a report of a woman with severe chest pain. When they arrived the patient was already being attended to by the Fulton Fire Department.

She was alert and conscious, but reporting she was in a lot of pain. It was decided that the patient would be transported to St. Joseph’s in Syracuse.

What started as a fairly routine transport suddenly became anything but routine. As they drove the patient stated she felt dizzy then suddenly she went unresponsive. The Menters crew immediately reacted, looking for a pulse, but finding none.

The patient took a last breath then stopped breathing. The crew worked tirelessly through out the race to the hospital culminating with Zukovsky using an AED to administer a shock to the patient as they pulled into St. Joe’s.

Amazingly the patient started breathing again and by the time they got into the ER, she was conscious and talking.

Exceptional Duty Award: Russ Johnson, Sgt. Stephen Lunn and Inv. Michael Batstone.

They are honored for their work over several years that finally led to the discovery of the person driving the car involved in the accident that killed Carolee Ashby in 1968.

Life Saving Award: Fulton Firefighters Lt. Steve Dexter, Lt. Shane Laws, Firefighters Ed Kasperek, Chris Adkins and Ken Gleason along with Menters AEMT’s Chris Foy, Michael Zukovsky and EMT Cory Richer.

They are honored for saving the life of a woman who was barely breathing, turning purple and unconscious.

Civilian Service Award: Edward Witkowski, of Fulton.

He is honored for rushing into a burning building and quickly extinguishing a fire, preventing a huge loss.

Parks medallion contest winner picks up her prize

Audrey Avery, fourth from left, holds the envelope with a check from The Valley News for $250 for being the winner of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt contest. She found the medallion in Van Buren Park April 16. The award ceremony was April 22 in Recreration Park. Children and adults who collected the colored rocks in all the parks also received their prizes that day. Shown in the photo from left are Bob Weston of Friends of Fulton Parks; Kelley Weaver, Friends of Fulton Parks and creator of the medallion contest; Charles Avery; Audrey Avery; Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr; and Dan Knopp, Fulton Common Council president. The person who found the medallion after reading clues hidden in The Valley News would receive $150 if he or she wasn’t a Valley News subscriber and $250 if he or she was a Valley News subscriber.
Audrey Avery, fourth from left, holds the envelope with a check from The Valley News for $250 for being the winner of the Treasure Fulton Parks 2014 Medallion Hunt contest. She found the medallion in Van Buren Park April 16. The award ceremony was April 22 in Recreration Park. Children and adults who collected the colored rocks in all the parks also received their prizes that day. Shown in the photo from left are Bob Weston of Friends of Fulton Parks; Kelley Weaver, Friends of Fulton Parks and creator of the medallion contest; Charles Avery; Audrey Avery; Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr; and Dan Knopp, Fulton Common Council president. The person who found the medallion after reading clues hidden in The Valley News would receive $150 if he or she wasn’t a Valley News subscriber and $250 if he or she was a Valley News subscriber.

Cold was the headline during the winter of 2012-14

By Debra J. Groom

It looks like winter may be over.

Nuts, did that jinx it?

Well anyway, through April 22, Fulton has received 177.6 inches of snow, said John Florek, who keeps snow records at the city’s water department. The average snowfall through April 22 during the 38 seasons he has been keeping records is 179.6.

“We’re pretty darn close,” Florek said.

Even though temperatures have been mild of late, Florek said he doesn’t put away his snow records for the year until the end of May.

“We’ve had snow on a couple of Mothers’ Days,” he said. The latest snow he has on record is May 12, 1996, when the city picked up 1.5 inches.

That was part of an extreme winter that saw 273.5 inches pile up in Fulton. The least amount of snow in his 38 years of record keeping was in 1991 — a paltry 74.75 inches.

Carolyn Yerdon, who keeps weather records up in Redfield, said her area came in at 386 inches — and more than half of that was on the ground before Jan. 1.

“We still have some piles here on the lawn and you can find snow in the woods,” she said this week.

The record for snow in Redfield is the 1996-97 winter — a total of 420 inches of snow fell.

Both Florek and Yerdon said what made this winter seem to go on forever was it seemed to snow almost every day and there were periods of extreme cold.

Yerdon said Oswego County is used to temperatures below zero during the winter. But to have a run of many days of frigid temperatures is rare.

“We had minus 19 on Jan. 21, minus 18 on Jan. 22 and it continued through Jan 24,” she said. Jan. 25 saw 11 degrees, and then the temperature plummeted again to minus 11 on Jan. 26 and minus 19 on Jan. 27.

“That’s brutal,” she said.

Florek agreed.

“It was cold more than anything else,” he said. “There were no real drops of multiple feet of snow this year.”

In Oswego, the Port City ended with 154.5 inches of snow, a couple of inches above average, said weather observer William Gregway.

“We got a lot of lake effect,” he said, noting it also snowed early in the season and continued through April. “We had a white Thanksgiving, white Christmas, but not a white Easter,” he said.

He also agreed the cold really got people down this year. He said he talked to some construction workers recently who are doing sewer work in the city and they remarked that the frost was more than 3 feet down into the ground where they were digging.


Disposal of old drugs Saturday at various sites

Saturday is the day that folks with old prescription drugs to dispose of can do so at area sites.

Drugs can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2  p.m.  April 26. The service is free and anonymous.

Here are the sites in Oswego County:

Fulton Police Department

Oswego Police Department

Kinney Drug Stores in Oswego, Fulton and Pulaski.

Pills and patches that have expired or are unused or unwanted can be dropped off during the event to ensure proper and safe disposal. Liquids, needles and sharps are not accepted.

During the last Take-Back Day in October 2013, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in all its previous Take-Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds of pills—more than 1,700 tons.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, flushing unused medicine down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards.



Fulton baseball off to slow start this season

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity baseball team went 1-3 in its first four games of the season.
Fulton began the season with a solid 21-9 win over Chittenango April 10. But the next three games were not as successful.
The Red Raiders were shut out by Jamesville-DeWitt April 11 by a score of 10-0. Then they had a double header with county foe Central Square April 12 and the Redhawks took both games,
In the Chittenango game, Chittenango jumped out to an early lead of 3-1 in the first inning. But Fulton took over during the next three innings, outscoring Chittenango 13-4 during the second, third and fourth innings to take a 14-7 lead.
Fulton continued to pour it on down the stretch. They outscored Chittenango 7-2 during the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to cap off a 21-9 win.
Leading the way for the Red Raiders was Cameron Clark, who had 5 hits and 4 RBIs. Following Clark was Jon Cummins with 5 hits and 3 RBIs including a homerun. Cody Green had 4 hits and 6 RBIs including a homerun.  Michael Bolster chipped in 3 hits and 2 RBIs while Jake Seymour hit a 1-run homerun and Chris Jones added a hit and an RBI.
Devon Rivera and Jeremy Langdon combined for 2 hits and an RBI for Fulton.
On the mound, Fulton was led by George Lewis with 4 strikeouts while allowing 7 runs on 4 hits in 5 and 1/3 innings of work. In relief of Lewis, Ravesi threw 2 strikeouts while allowing 2 runs on 2 hits in 1 and 2/3 innings of work.
Against J-D, the Red Rams got off to a solid start and didn’t look back. They built a 4-0 lead during the first inning and then added to their lead during the next 2 innings.
J-D added 3 more runs during the second and third innings to take a 7-0 lead and then put the game out of reach during the next 2 innings. They added 3 more runs during the fourth and fifth innings to cap off a 10-0 win.
Fulton was led by Dillon Guernsey with 2 hits. Following Guernsey was Michael Bolster, Cameron Clark, Jon Cummins, Cody Green and Jeremy Langdon, each with 1 hit.
Dan Coant started the game for Fulton on the mound. In 2 and 1/3 innings of work, Coant allowed 7 runs off 7 hits. Dillon Guernsey pitched in relief of Coant and threw 3 strikeouts and allowed 3 runs off 3 hits in 1 and 2/3 innings of work.

Fulton’s struggles continued when they took on Central Square in a doubleheader April 12.

In the first game, Central Square set the stage for an impressive effort during the first inning, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The Red Hawks added 2 more runs during the third and fourth innings en route to a 9-0 win.

Leading the way for Central Square was Tim Traub with 3 hits and an RBI against the Red Raiders. Following Traub was Gage Lanning with 2 hits and 2 RBIs, Parker Reese with 2 hits and an RBI, Mike Byrne added a hit and an RBI while Nat Budge, Zac Catlin, Zach Karl, Brad Lyboult and Mike Tolone combined for 6 hits and an RBI for Central Square.
On the mound, Central Square was led by Brad Lyboult, who threw 1 strikeout while allowing only 2 hits in 3 innings of work. Scott Rogers clinched the save in relief of Lyboult, throwing a strikeout while allowing only 3 hits in 4 innings of playing time.
Fulton was led by Michael Bolster with 2 hits, followed by Chris Jones with a hit.
On the mound, the Red Raiders were led by Michael Bolster who allowed 8 runs off 8 hits in 3 innings of work. In relief of Bolster, Charles Alton threw 2 strikeouts while allowing a run off of 5 hits in 3 innings of playing time.
Central Square maintained its dominant ways in the second game.
Fulton got off to a decent start, putting up a 3-1 lead after 2 innings.
But the Red Hawks stormed ahead during the next 3 innings, scoring 13 unanswered runs during the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 14-3 lead. After the final two innings were evenly played, the Red Raiders were unable to cut into the lead. Central Square rolled to a 16-5 win.
Leading the way for Central Square were Mike Tolone and Cory Rogers, who each had 2 hits and 3 RBIs. Following Tolone and Rogers were Nate Budge, Zac Catlin and Gage Lanning with 2 hits and an RBI each. Kyle Bacon chipped in a hit and an RBI, while Mike Byrne, Nick Field, Parker Reese, Nick Romano and Tim Traub combined for 6 hits for Central Square.
Mike Tolone earned the win for Central Square with 8 strikeouts while allowing 11 hits in the complete game.
The Red Raiders were led by Kirby LaBeef with a hit and 2 RBIs. Following LaBeef was Jon Cummins with a hit and an RBI, while Michael Bolster, Charles Alton, Cameron Clark, Dan Coant, Cody Green and Peter Ravesi combined for 10 hits.
On the mound, Nick Summerville led Fulton with 2 strikeouts while allowing 5 runs off of 5 hits in 2 innings of play. Following Summerville was Jake Seymour who allowed 9 runs off of 9 hits in 3 innings on the mound. Jeremy Langdon allowed 2 runs off of 3 hits in an inning of work.


Seed swapping program May 1 at library

The Oswego Public Library will host a non-GMO Seed and Plant Swap and Seed Saving Workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday May 1 in the Community Room.

The Oswego Public Library has joined the efforts of the Oswego Center for Sustainability to generate collaborative community projects that focus on local, reusable resources, self-reliance and community initiative.

Together these organizations have established the Oswego Seed Library. All seeds left over from the swap will be donated to the Oswego Seed Library and available for free to the community.

The public will then be able to “borrow” seeds, just as they would borrow books, with the intention of planting, harvesting and then saving the seeds from the best of their harvest — but without the risk of troublesome overdue fines.

Ideally, local growers will then return some of these seeds for others to borrow in the future. The Oswego Seed Library will facilitate the accessibility of non-GMO seeds to the community while providing educational resources and support.

Please clearly label any non-GMO or heirloom seeds you wish to swap.

New to seed saving?  Jan Smith, Master Gardener of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County will be discussing and demonstrating seed saving techniques and answering your questions.

All Oswego Public Library programs are free and open to the public.  Please call Jessica at 341-5867 if you have further questions.

Dear Porky & Buddy — How to keep a pet from running away

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Several years ago, (when I was young(er) and foolish(er), I got a beagle puppy. I named her Randy and she was a great dog, but after only about six months she ran off and although I tried really hard, I could never find her.

I felt terrible and stupid and vowed to never make that mistake again, but just recently I finally bought my own house with a nice fenced in yard and I think I am ready to try to be a better “pet parent” now.

But I still think about Randy and want to never have to go through that again. If I do lose my new dog, how should I go about finding her or him?



Dear Jo,

You’re jumping the gun (so to speak) a little.

Start out by taking some sensible precautions that will make it much less likely that your new best friend will end up wandering off to meet Randy.

First, do your research about what kind of dog you want to adopt. (Yes, we are absolutely assuming you will adopt.)

Beagles and other hounds and hound mixes are great dogs, but they are hunters and they easily wander off on the trail of something. If you are prepared for that, fine, but be truly prepared, or you might want to think instead about a breed or mixed breed with less of a wanderlust.

Second, it’s great that you have a fenced yard, but that is no substitute for good identification — a collar with your name and number stitched right in (not just a tag that is easily lost) and preferably a micro-chip that you keep registered.

It is also no substitute for spending time with your new friend. Dogs left in yards by themselves get bored and will sometimes try anything to get out and explore. Go exploring together instead. That’s why you want a dog, right?

Third, make sure your new dog is well trained and learns to come without hesitation when she or he is called, no matter how tempted to run after something interesting. There are a lot of other commands that are important, but, for safety, “Come” is the one that is fundamental.

You can find great instructions and advice for teaching that command from the ASPCA at

Next week, we’ll write again about what to do if your dog becomes lost in spite of your best efforts. But first you have some  homework to do. Have fun adopting!

Speaking of adopting, go to to see all of the Oswego County Humane Society’s great pets available for adoption.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is Website is